Homophobia & Transphobia in a Southern Fundamentalism Family
I was born in 1993 in the state of South Carolina to a Southern Baptist Mother and a Methodist Father. Growing up because of this wasn't exactly the easiest thing to do as a transgender child. I remember tugging on my mother's leg one time when I was a child, and as she looked down at me and said “Your such a cute little boy” I, then 5 years old corrected her by saying no Mama cute little girl. I got the beating of my life for this. I was told to never say things like that again. At that point, I was too young to know what transphobia was, and definitely not old enough to put two and two together and figure out that my white, southern Irish parents were both racists, homophobic, and transphobic, all wrapped up into one bundle of negativity. Every time I picked up girls toys and dresses in girls clothes I was punished severely. It got to the point to where I was so scared to be myself that I just went completely numb to the world by age 7. It was at that young age that I thought life would never get better, that my parents would never love me for who I really am, and I became very cynical and rebellious. I grew to hate church and God because I thought that those were the two things that were keeping my parents from ever loving me. It's now that I look back on this I realize that God had nothing to do with their hate. They just used God as an excuse to do the things they wanted to do and thought that if they went to church all the horrible things they did would all magically go away. They were old testament Christians. My youth was a living hell because of them. It was the common story of coming in and out and in and out of the closet that you see with so many Transgender children trapped inside southern fundamentalist families.
Emotional & Hormonal Hell, Puberty, Blending in & My First Drunk
High school came and what came with it was emotional and hormonal hell. It made me hate my parents even more cause I thought that if they just would have got me on hormones before all this puberty stuff happened then my life wouldn't have been so bad. I just wanted to be loved and appreciated for who I really was. That was a common theme in my life that would lead me down a very misguided road. At 14 I made do and found a happy medium because at the time Emo and Scene Kid culture was HUGE. I noticed that Scene kids got to dress a lot like girls so even though I knew I was trans for the longest time I just said I was an Emo. I got the crazy hair colors & finally was able to grow my hair super long without my parents forcing me to chop it all off and buzz cut it. But it wasn't good enough, and in my mind, I still looked like a guy and I hated it. Age 14 was the very first time I ever got drunk and high. I was at my friend Danny’s house and it was his birthday. We all took a truck to some random camper van in the middle of nowhere and I got obliterated. I remember thinking, "wow I don't feel like I want to die right now" while I was stumbling drunk. Thus started the spiraling path down into oblivion that was to be my life for a long time.
The Peak of the Trauma of Gender Dysphoria, I Came Out, To Get Kicked Out & Go Back In
By 16 I couldn't take it anymore I had to be me and I started being a girl at school and a guy at home. Eventually, I got caught by my parents and I was kicked out and forced to live with my grandparents in Chesnee, SC. In the middle of freaking nowhere. At least Spartanburg was a decent sized city and was fairly liberal outside of my parents' house. But now I was in rednecks village. Hell on earth as I like to call it now. I had to go back into the closet completely until I was about age 18 where I wasn't able to take it anymore and I started to dress as myself again. My grandma found out I was dating a guy on top of that and within a week I was kicked out on the streets with nowhere to go.
How a Smart Lady Like Me Turned to Sex Trade & Crystal Meth
I had a part-time job at the time so I was able to use some of the money I had saved up to get a Motel for a week. At the motel, I started to wear what little women's clothing I had every day and I threw away the men's clothes I had. If I wasn't able to feminize them with a pair of scissors and a needle and thread first. I ran out of money and had nowhere to go and no way to pay for the motel. Its a common story in the trans community sadly… So I had befriended two female prostitutes that lived at the motel. They taught me how to put up the back page ad, how to make sure the guy wasn't a cop and all the other tricks of the sex trade. I was making money but I was miserable. I was introduced to crack cocaine and I was addicted pretty bad. I wanted out of the sex trade. I freaked out and called every friend that I had in my phone number and eventually, I was able to find a place to stay. My friend said the person I was staying with was a dealer. I was pretty excited about that. I thought I was about to get all the free weed and free cocaine I could ever want. After two weeks I was addicted to what that man sold. I was addicted to Crystal Meth. I lived in a bedroom on the edge of the house and had regular sex with this guy that lived in the same room as me. Before I knew it the guy that owned the house started asking for rent money and I was prostituting myself all over again except this time I was selling my ass to buy one thing and one thing alone, Meth.
Smoking Meth & Living A Lie
2 Years went by and I was twenty years old and I looked like death, and thought I was beautiful and skinny. It got really really bad. I had been raped more than once. I was smoking Meth every day. I was drinking every day. I was so addicted to meth that I didn't even want to use any of my money to get on hormones. I just wanted to use it to buy more meth. Then a dry spell came and I couldn't find any clients so I called my grandma to come to pick me up and take me to the homeless shelter. To make a long story short she took me to my mom's house instead, I was forced to live as a man again, I started dating this girl in NC and moved into her house. No one in my family really cared about my drug problem. They just didn't want me to be myself. And me not being myself meant that I did more drugs than I ever had before in my life. I lived in North Carolina, worked at a factory and did a lot of meth. I lived as a man for 2 years & then I couldn't take it anymore and I came out. I had been sober for a few months but my girlfriend that I was with broke up with me after I came out and then I relapsed.
From Suicide, Crack Cocaine & Meth to Inspire Recovery, Hope, Living My True Identity & then Recovery.
I tried to kill myself. I took my tax returns and bought 2000 dollars worth of meth AND DID IT ALL. I wound up in the Asheville Memorial Hospital. From there I went to Old Vinyard Detox, then to Rehab, and then to Inspire Recovery. I started to feel hopeful of my future again and I was around people who loved me and respected me for who I am. I learned the 12 steps. I found God and started going to church again except this time I was free to be Joslin and not Jonathan while I was at church. I got on hormones, and one month at a time my brain started to recover from the trauma I had gone through. Life started to look up. I made sure that I surrounded myself with positive people who understood my problems. I started going to a transgender support group. I am telling you, my fellow trans sisters and brothers, if you are stuck in a bad spot because of things that have happened to you in your life that you could not control, reach out to Inspire Recovery. There is help out there and there are good people that are willing to help you save your life. You can get help and it does get better. Reach out and call your local LGBT community centers. Reach out to local shelters and Trans affirming treatment centers and get help. You never have to go back and live with abusive “family” members ever again. If no one else has told you that they love you today just know that I do and that I believe in you.